West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper and fellow Lancashire Labour MPs have written to the Energy Secretary Greg Clark to call on Government to halt fracking immediately in light of the recent earthquakes in Lancashire.
Since work got under way at the Preston New Road site near Little Plumpton, It is now reported there have been over 30 earthquakes recorded in the past two weeks as a result of fracking at the site, including a 1.1 magnitude tremor on Monday.
MP Rosie tabled an Urgent Question to Parliament on Tuesday, which was refused, she intended to ask:
“To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to make a statement on the recent earthquakes caused by Cuadrilla’s fracking at Preston New Road in Lancashire, which follows the Government intervention in July to overturn Lancashire County Council’s rejection of the application?”
After not being allowed to ask this question on the floor of the House, Rosie proceeded to make an intervention at the Westminster Hall debate on Wednesday afternoon, the debate titled ‘That this House has considered local involvement in shale gas development’. This debate was secured by the Fylde MP Mark Menzies, ironically, where the fracking site is located.
Speaking in the debate, MP Rosie said:
“As a Lancashire MP I was horrified by the Government’s decision to overturn Lancashire County Council’s decision to refuse permission for fracking. It flies in the face of the Government’s pretend localism agenda, and current attempts to meddle with the process do not pass the sniff test. My constituents oppose it. Perhaps the Tories should pinch another Labour policy and ban fracking.”
Rosie has now written an open letter to the Energy Secretary, co-signed by Lancashire Labour MPs including Julie Cooper (Burnley), Sir Mark Hendrick (Preston), Kate Hollern (Blackburn), Gordon Marsden (Blackpool South), Cat Smith (Lancaster and Fleetwood) and the Shadow Energy Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey.
West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper said:
“Disappointingly, I wasn’t granted the opportunity to ask an Urgent Question in Parliament, on a topic which I believe and most will agree, is a very urgent matter – earthquakes in Lancashire!
“In 2015, Lancashire County Council’s Development Control Committee voted to reject an application from Cuadrilla to carry out fracking at a site off Preston New Road, near Little Plumpton in Lancashire.
“This decision was appealed by Cuadrilla, and in July, the Government gave the go ahead for fracking to take place, claiming to be assured by the health and safety criteria.
“I find it remarkable that despite the clear rejection of fracking by the people of Lancashire, and the numerous warnings that drilling would cause seismic activity, the Government decided it would push fracking through and impose it on the residents of Lancashire against their will with scant regard for local residents’ concerns.
“I believe that it is now just and right for the Government to halt fracking at this site, and to place a moratorium on fracking until such point as they can be not just reassured, but fully assured, that there will be no more man made earthquakes in England or Wales as a result of fracking.
“If they cannot be assured of that, then for that reason and so many more, this Government needs to steal another of Labour’s Manifesto pledges and ban fracking immediately.”